Meet the Plant Parent Who Talks to Her 70+ Green Friends

She does a lot to care for her 70-plus plants, including talking to them

Ciara Benko for In the Weeds With Plant People

The Spruce / Meghal Janardan

In The Weeds With Plant People is a fast-paced interview style series in which plant parents welcome us into their homes and give us a firsthand look at how they live with and care for their many many houseplants.

It’s time for another tour of someone's home jungle. And this week we’re headed to Ciara Benko’s Lower East Side apartment where she lives with her dog, her girlfriend, and over 70 plants. Inspired by both of her grandmothers, one that had a sprawling backyard, and the other a connoisseur of indoor plants, Ciara has created her own indoor green oasis in New York City. 


Inside This 70+ Manhattan Plant Collection

In This Episode

Most of her plants reside in either her living room or bedroom, the rooms with the best light and you can tell the plants are loving life. Her Neon Pothos, which she says is the plant that looks the most like her, is so full and lush. You can tell that Ciara is a big fan of trailing plants as her windows and corners of her apartment feature so many beautiful vining plants. She also doesn’t discriminate by size. She’s got a giant Fiddle-leaf fig which she loves to chat with while cleaning its leaves and some smaller plants like her Calathea Orbifolia which she says is her trickiest plant. Despite being tricky, Ciara hasn’t given up on it. She once had to chop it down and let it completely regrow, and “now that winter is upon us, it's starting to get crispy around the edges," she said

Ciara loves a good plant shape and the Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma is one of her favorites because of the fenestrations in the leaves (which is why it’s nicknamed the Mini Monstera). You can tell she’s also a fan of beautiful patterns since her most unique plant is her Scindapsus Pictus. It lives in a tiny six-inch pot but it has vines that are 20 feet long. And as all good plant parents do, she incorporates those vines into decor by tapping them to the wall above her tv. 

Next up Ciara takes us into the bedroom where she shares her greatest plant fear (and ours too). She recently had to cut down her Monstera which she had been growing for four years. It got infested with mealybugs so she decided to chop it up and propagate the leaves so she can't pot them up once roots grow in. We think it’s a good plan and a great way to save plants that have root rot from overwatering or come down with pests.

In this week's episode of In The Weeds with Plant People Ciara tells some great stories that every plant parent can relate to and answers some really fun questions like what plant would you be reborn into? Her answer—a Tradescantia Nanouk because they’re gorgeous and spunky. Make sure to tune in to see her amazing plant collection. You don’t want to miss it!